The Detroit Pistons have gone all-in and traded for superstar power forward Blake Griffin. In return, the Los Angeles Clippers will receive Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and a first and second-round pick.
The Detroit Pistons have done it. They have decided to go all-in with a deal to acquire superstar power forward Blake Griffin, small forward Brice Johnson, and power forward/center Willie Reed. However, this came at a steep price. The Pistons will be sending a haul to the LA Clippers with some great talent including Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris. They will also be sending a 2018 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick in the deal.
A high-risk, high-reward acquisition.
In reality, the Detroit Pistons are trying to create Lob City 2.0. This means the move to acquire Griffin will either be brilliant or really freaking stupid. Griffin has averaged 21.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game in his seven-year career. With the combination of Griffin and Andre Drummond, it is undeniable that Detroit will become the new Lob City.
Los Angeles was known as ‘Lob City’ from 2011-2017. In that time frame they never won a championship, but won 50+ games in each of those seasons. On top of that, they made the playoffs for six straight seasons. With the East expecting to open up in the next year or two, the same thing could happen in Detroit.
The Pistons will also have control of Griffin until 2022, as he just signed a five-year, $171 million dollar contract this offseason. His contract is huge, which could end up biting the Pistons in the butt if this trade doesn’t pan out.
Another thing that could cause worry is Griffin’s injury history. He has missed considerable amounts of time consistently throughout his career. This has included broken knee caps, breaking his hand and toe, and tearing his quad. Griffin has to stay healthy for this deal to work out.
But, this deal put Detroit back on the map. I mean who wouldn’t want to play with a combo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond? The Pistons need to find that final piece of the puzzle that will make them the next super-team. They aren’t quite there yet, but they have the potential to be something great if they add one more piece.
What does this mean for the Pistons?
This meant that Van Gundy is ready to give Luke Kennard and Stanley Johnson a step up in playing time. You don’t make a deal with your starting shooting guard unless you think the guy underneath him can do just as well. Kennard has had a solid rookie year thus far and deserves his chance to get more playing time. Kennard is averaging almost 7 points per game and is shooting 43% both from the field and behind the arc.
It also means that Detroit now doesn’t have a true starting small forward. Reggie Bullock is the clear favorite to take this spot. In the past 15 games, Bullock has scored about 12 points per game, while shooting the ball incredibly efficiently at 54 percent. His play could definitely have been the factor that made Tobias Harris expendable.
On top of that, the Pistons were able to hold onto Stanley Johnson in the deal. Johnson has had an up and down season, and most people are casting him off. But Van Gundy still sees something in this kid, or else he would have been a trade option to the Clippers. He is currently scoring 7.5 points per game on 35% shooting.
The fact that the Pistons were able to keep both Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard in a deal as lucrative as this really makes me think that they aren’t done yet. The win-now attitude they have shown with this deal make these two young talents expendable if the deal is right.
Projected starting lineup
I believe the decision for the starting lineup is pretty simple. At point will be Ish Smith (until Reggie Jackson gets healthy). Shooting guard will be played by Luke Kennard as he will get his chance to shine. Small forward should be taken by Reggie Bullock due to his impressive play as of late. Meanwhile, the four spot will be the newly acquired Blake Griffin, and at center will be the should-be All-Star Andre Drummond.
However, the bench is going to take a major dip in production with this move. With Reggie Jackson being hurt, sixth-man Ish Smith is currently starting at point guard. With that being said, for now, Langston Galloway is probably the sixth man. As I mentioned earlier, Stanley Johnson is going to have to take a bigger role from off the bench, and Willie Reed will more than likely become the backup center.
Where Detroit really lacks talent is in the backcourt. The Pistons are left with only Galloway and Dwight Buycks as backcourt bench players. Who knows? Maybe Van Gundy has another deal in place to add some more backcourt depth.
Who knows? The team is definitely going to have to adjust to having both Drummond and Griffin in the frontcourt. The first rendition of Lob City couldn’t get the job done, but let’s see if 2.0 will be the better version. Only time will tell, but for now the Pistons are making noise, and something tells me there is more to come.